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What qualities make a CNC a "ShapeOko"?

Posted: Thu Aug 09, 2012 9:57 pm
by northbear
Sparked by another thread what are peoples thoughts on how far the ShapeOko design can be customized and still call it a "ShapeOko"? Do you need to start with the kit from Inventables and modify? Is it the end plates? The use of Makerslide?

Some examples are
Max Metz -- ... =507#p4653
Misant -- ... 5095#p5084
Max Metz's crazy idea :D -- ... =339#p2733

I am curious of what the community's thoughts are on this!

Re: What qualities make a CNC a "ShapeOko"?

Posted: Fri Aug 10, 2012 1:23 pm
by cvoinescu
I kind of started this with a less than serious comment about Misant's OpenRail-based design not being exactly a ShapeOko. One of Edward Ford's stated goals was "one standard design" (and later down that page he says there are "documented upgrades"). As far as the BOM goes, Misant's design has only the dual bearing V-wheels and the smooth idlers in common with the ShapeOko (besides some standard fasteners, of course -- and possibly the belts, although not the pulleys). It uses the same V-wheel-on-V-rail principle, but so do numerous other CNC machines; same can be said about the arrangement of the axes. I'm sure it started as a ShapeOko and went through a series of small changes, each stage not so different from the previous one as to merit a new name, but the sketch we saw, without the intermediate steps, looks very different from a ShapeOko.

Now, what makes a ShapeOko a ShapeOko? I think not one of the characteristics is strictly necessary. For instance, if I take a bog-standard ShapeOko and replace the Makerslide with 20x40 extrusion and OpenRail, that's still a ShapeOko. If I replace the MXL belts with GT3, that's still a ShapeOko. If I route the belts differently, that's still a ShapeOko. If I replace the belt drive on a standard ShapeOko with an acme leadscrew, that is pushing it. If I move the Y motor(s) on the frame and use closed-loop belts, but I keep the standard motor plates, that's somewhere in between. If I add another length of Makerslide on the X and modify the carriage, that's still a ShapeOko.

When is it no longer an "upgrade" but a different machine entirely? That's a bit like Nasreddin Hodja's 9000-year-old knife. When the blade became too worn, the current owner replaced the blade. When the handle became too worn, they replaced the handle. So it's the same old knife, only "upgraded" a lot. Same here: I'm sure you can start with a ShapeOko and upgrade it bit by bit until it's a $1m industrial six-axis CNC milling machine the size of a bus. At some point, you'll have to stop calling it a ShapeOko, but I don't think it's terribly important when that happens -- nor is it terribly important that we agree on that moment, even. So I wonder why I even bothered to waste so many electrons talking about this... but then again, when is philosophy no longer philosophy and becomes a waste of time? :)

Re: What qualities make a CNC a "ShapeOko"?

Posted: Sat Aug 11, 2012 4:10 pm
by Digitalmagic
Shapeoko is a SHAKE-ing OPPO-rtunity to start with CNC, no matter where you stop!
The forum in itself, is a keystone, as much as the machine is.

Re: What qualities make a CNC a "ShapeOko"?

Posted: Mon Aug 13, 2012 9:30 pm
by edwardrford
I've been procrastinating my reply to this thread. I'm glad I did. Seems like the longer I think about something, consciously or not, the better.

IMO: Shapeoko is pretty much what @DM said. An opportunity to get into CNC. Plain and simple, that was my #1 goal behind the project. Or, I should say that was my #1 reason for the $300 goal. Thinking (accurately as far as I can tell) the main barrier for CNC was price. After Price, the biggest barrier is the transfer and open sharing of knowledge. So, after struggling on my own for so many years, then finally "figuring it out", I wanted nothing more than to share that with other people. And, thinking if I had a small group of other people who were as passionate as I am about both *learning* CNC and *playing* (maybe they're one in the same?) CNC, then we might be on to a nice little community. If people wanted to chip in with design ideas and improvements, that would be even better, but to be honest I wasn't really expecting anyone to be keen on that.

At this point in the game, I'd say that we've well exceeded a SMALL group of like minded people. I'm amazed everytime I log in and see the 'Total Member' number at the bottom of the screen! When I started the google group last year, we had 15 people on the original invitation list, and I was blown away by that. 15 people! Fast forward to now and we had 15 people sign up last week! We also have about a dozen posts PER DAY related to design ideas, most of which come from people FAR more qualified than I will ever be. It's absolutely incredible.

Regarding the design of Shapeoko and what makes a machine a Shapeoko: It's a bit subjective. For the sticklers, I'd say anyone who has been issued a serial number has a Shapeoko. But, if someone rolls their own (or some of their own) structure (laser cut parts, etc) and wants to call it a shapeoko because they used some of the design files, that's cool with me too.

That's all a side note though in the grand scheme of things: What I want again, is exactly what @DM is saying: Anyone who wants to get into CNC is welcome here! Shapeoko or not. It's as much of a viewpoint on what CNC is and what the end goals are than what machine is being used!

Re: What qualities make a CNC a "ShapeOko"?

Posted: Thu Aug 16, 2012 3:43 am
by northbear
Thanks for the replies. This is a very welcoming place to be!

I agree there is no definitive lines between these categories but my thoughts are:

Official Shapeoko from Inventables --------The Standard
Shapeoko clone ------------------------------ Same as above but not from Inventables
Modified Shapeoko -------------------------- Start with standard Shapeoko and make changes (ie custom belt path, dual motor etc)
Custom Shapeoko or Shapeoko inspired --- Start with Shapeoko design but some "significant" changes
Other CNC ------------------------------------ Anything else

Not sure I completely like this list, but I thought since I started the thread I should at least put my 2 cents in :)

Re: What qualities make a CNC a "ShapeOko"?

Posted: Thu Aug 16, 2012 7:41 am
by Digitalmagic
You forgot "Project ShapeOko" on Kickstarter initiated by ... Edward Ford! ... e?ref=live

Shame on you! :D